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Superintendent's Update - May 20, 2022

The agenda calendar can be found HERE.

Churchill easement: PAUSD will consider an easement for a portion of school district property on Churchill Avenue. The City's Churchill Avenue Enhanced Bikeway Project will provide improved facilities for all modes of transport including bicycles, pedestrians, and motor vehicles using Churchill Avenue, and for vehicles turning into Palo Alto High School. The project includes extending the existing pathway that currently terminates at the Palo Alto High School driveway, to the west terminating at El Camino Real where a modified traffic signal would be designed to accommodate users crossing El Camino Real. Improvements also include striping updates as well as high visibility crosswalks on Churchill Avenue.

In order to undertake this project, the City requires the District to grant an easement for a strip of land along Churchill Avenue (approximately 9,000 sq. ft.) for a period of thirty (30) years. The City will be solely responsible for the cost of the project. Because of the benefit to PAUSD students, families, and the community, granting of the easement will be at no additional cost to the City.

Cubberley: PAUSD took possession of portions of Cubberley after the City exercised their termination clause for an ongoing financial impact of roughly $2.5 million per year. To no surprise, the facility is not in good shape and has required more attention than previously predicted. While some of the buildings look acceptable from the surface, the site is an interconnected system that cannot be separated into pieces. This includes underground pipes, HVAC systems, and other things that are unseen by the average person.

Terman Park: PAUSD and the City of Palo Alto have had low-level exploratory discussions about a possible land swap involving Terman Park for additional land at the Cubberley site. Terman Park is often confused as PAUSD property since it is adjacent to Fletcher Middle School. While used by Fletcher students, it is not part of the Fletcher campus or PAUSD. Any potential swap has complexities and would not happen quickly. This update should be taken as a hypothetical discussion at this time.

Hoover Traffic Flow:The City has been an excellent partner designing the traffic flow for our future Hoover Elementary project. The improved pick-up and drop-off areas should benefit everyone and create a better overall experience.

Signal Light Montrose / Louis and Charleston:As luck would have it, the City already had a plan to add a signal light at Montrose and Charleston. The project is in motion and will help with those who walk or bicycle to the temporary location at Greendell and the temporary elementary sites.

Middle School Recreation Sports Program: We have held a couple of discussions regarding the middle school recreation sports program with the City of Palo Alto. The City program is valued by the community and serves many residents across several sports. We are exploring ways to help low-wealth families access the program with assistance from different sources. Part of our research included contacting the other participating teams to see how they are run. We are awaiting responses from at least two participating teams at the time of this update. Regardless, it is a mix with many programs run through their city recreation departments or Boys and Girls Clubs.

We are proud to celebrate our CSEA employees for their endless dedication to our school district. CSEA employees include our bus drivers, health technicians, classroom assistants, custodians, secretaries, maintenance workers, electricians, plumbers, and technology support staff.

Our classified members are committed to literally keeping the wheels turning! They are often the first faces we see in the morning and the last to turn off the lights. Thank you to our classified staff for all they do and the humble ways in which they do it!

The PAUSD team, including representatives from PAEA, CSEA, and PAMA, met with Maegan Pearson from Mercy Housing to clarify their proposed plan for employee housing at 231 Grant Avenue.

As stated from the beginning, no housing proposal will go forward without endorsement from our professional associations since the investment is a form of compensation and can be seen as negotiable. I would like to thank our associations for their active participation in our meeting. At this time, we do not have a scheduled date to bring the proposal before the Board of Education for consideration.

Here are the pieces that may be of interest for everyone:

  • Units will ultimately be priced up to 90% of market rate.
  • The investment from each district is a grant and provides no ownership rights.
  • Once selected, there is no limit for the amount of time a person keeps the unit as long as they remain employed by a participating school district in some capacity and remain under 200% of the Median Household Income of Santa Clara County.
  • PAUSD is allotted up to 29 potential units at a total cost of $1,450,000.
  • If a district is unable to fill a unit, other districts have the opportunity to fill the unit regardless of their initial investment.
  • While employees may be full or part time, they must meet a minimum household income of $70,000 to qualify for the lowest level units.
  • Abode Communities used survey results to determine the percentage of employees who would qualify for units. Roughly 10% of our employees responded, bringing validity of results into question.
  • Allocations include studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units.
  • Those who are not selected go to a waiting list.
  • There is a financial benefit for a small number of employees that will be difficult to capture in collective bargaining agreements.

Preparation for Palo Verde's temporary move to the Greendell campus is in full swing! Details on the temporary classrooms, library, and other campus facilities are in their very final stages of refinement. Last month, Principal Annora Lee and a team of teachers toured the Greendell campus to develop practical systems for student supervision, recess/lunch routines and social events. After meeting with move consultants last week, many teachers and staff have already begun packing up their classrooms.

The facilities and transportation teams have been working hard to provide a partial bus solution for the relocated Palo Verde campus next year. This has involved shifting bus routes around and working out bus loops to improve capacity for the short relocation. We are happy to announce next year we will provide busing for 180 students in the morning and 320 students in the afternoon. There will likely be a stop at Ohlone and Palo Verde Elementary, with ridership at each stop based on how close students live to each stop and bus capacity. Palo Verde families will soon be receiving a transportation survey. The information collected will help us finalize our 2022-23 route schedule.

For those who do not take the bus, Right at School and Palo Verde Kids Club will continue to operate with us at Greendell. Families will also be able to walk, bike and drive their children to school.

Great thanks are in order to the many individuals who provided their time and expertise to support this move effort.

The staff at Fletcher is having conversations about possible choice programs for the 2023-24 school year. I asked the staff to start thinking about choice programs.

Our Human Resources team tracks some data points pertaining to retention and the reasons people may leave PAUSD. The team looked at our hiring data going into 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23. While 2022-23 could shift, we don't expect anything major. Takeaway points from the review of the three years combined include:

  • 12 teachers were hired to backfill teachers who took a leave of absence for personal reasons.
  • 31 teachers were hired to replace those who retired.
  • 20 teachers were hired for new programs.
  • 20 teachers were hired to replace those who were not rehired for an additional year.
  • 4 teachers were hired to replace those who took administrative positions in PAUSD.
  • 16 teachers were hired because the teacher moved out of the area.
  • 10 teachers were hired to replace those who took positions in another surrounding district.

Overall, the data speaks well to our retention efforts. A future report will examine how many teachers came to us with experience from surrounding districts.

Summer school invitation notices have started going out to students and parents for elementary, middle, and high school.